An Ordinary World

books, blabberings, and a life semi-common

The Power of Lyrics

There are many songs out there that really evoke all different types of emotions – sadness, happiness, regret, terror, and the list goes on. For this particular blog, I want to focus on some lyrics from the musical, Next to Normal, which I saw for one last time this past Monday.

The one that sticks out to me the most is a lyric that really hurts. Sure, there are some songs out there that are about heartbreak or pain or losing someone but, for some reason, these particular lines are what I consider to be some of the most pain-inducing, heart-wrenching lines to ever be written.

The background here is important. DON’T continue reading if you don’t want to know ANYTHING about the show.

Natalie is the daughter of Diana and Dan. She had a brother but he died as a baby and she only knows about him through her parents’ memories. However, Diana hasn’t been able to let go and “sees” him as an 18-year-old young man. In the midst of all of this, Natalie knows she was conceived to help ease the heartache of losing a child and is often brushed aside by Diana. It’s nothing malicious on the mother’s part; she can’t help it. In the song, “Superboy and the Invisible Girl,” Natalie talks about how her dead ghost of a brother is everything her mother wants while she stays in the shadows. Diana, on hearing these thoughts (or singing, whatever), sings the following:

You’re our little pride and joy, our perfect plan.
You know I love you.
I love you as much as I can.

I don’t think there can ever be another set of lyrics written that just jars you out of your thoughts and sinks into your brain like some sort of sickness waiting to take over. Who wants to hear a mother say that to a child? Who can bear it?

Another reason I love this show so much is the finale. There are a few shows that have a finale that really resonates with me and this one is up high on the list with Les Miserables for most powerful ending. Basically, everything has gone to shit. There’s really no other way to put it and no delicate way to say it. The parents are separated and living apart, the ghost of a son is sort of there but not as prevalent, everything you thought about the father has gone to shambles, and the crazy daughter who needed attention is the most sane one of the group.

Yet, despite all the moments that could make the most depressing end to a show ever, the final song is one called, “Light,” in which the characters really just speak the truth.

Day after day,
give me clouds and rain and gray.
Give me pain if that’s what’s real;
it’s the price we pay to feel.
The price of love is loss
but still we pay.

The harmonies just really drive straight through your heart and, while there are some parts of the show I wish wouldn’t happen (especially in the 2nd act), I would sit through this show a million times over just to see this finale, just to hear the glory that is the best song of the entire show.

So my question for you, dear readers —

What lyric always get you without fail? What are the words that cut you open and let you bleed? What are songs that lift you up so high that you don’t know how you can ever fall back to Earth?


One response to “The Power of Lyrics

  1. jilly 6 January 2011 at 12:10 am

    So… I’m all teary eyed right now. Thanks, btw.

    In the house I grew up in, we had a bay window that faced the driveway. When I was a little kid, I would rush to the window to wave goodbye to whoever was leaving. It was usually a happy goodbye because it was my dad going to work or my mom heading to the store.

    But then my parents got divorced. Waving goodbye to my dad no longer meant I would get to see him in a few hours.

    It wasn’t long before my now step-dad (whom I’m very fortunate to have in my life) moved in. Around that time, a song by Doug Supernaw called “I Don’t Call Him Daddy” became popular. And the gut-wrenchingest of the lyrics go a little something like this:

    A little rain on the window, and a little wave… goodbye
    You said, “I don’t call him daddy, but he takes care of things.
    When you pick me up on Friday, are you gonna bring me anything?
    Oh, don’t worry Dad, you know, it don’t matter what we do;
    Cause I don’t call him daddy, he can never be like you.

    And that pretty much summed everything up.

    Now, there are lots of songs that get me emotional, but this one stands out because it was something I could relate to personally at the time.

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